BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN — Against the background of incessant kidnappings and other violent crimes in Edo State, members of various cult groups in the state came together in Benin, weekend, in a move they said was to tackle insecurity in the state.
However, the cult groups during their summit with the theme Interactive Peace Summit: Strategy for Social Cohesion, which held at the Sand Beach Resorts, Benin, expressed dissatisfaction with threats posed to Edo and other neighboring states due to the activities of kidnappers, armed robbery gangs and other criminal activities. They resolved to tackle them.
Some of the cult groups represented by at the summit included Green Circuit (Maphites), Norsemen (Vikings), Black Axe, Eiye Confraternity, Family Fraternity of Nigeria and Avarian Organisation of Nigeria.
Also in attendance were representatives of Governor Adams Oshiomhole; the Iyase (traditional Prime Minister) of BeninKingdom, Chief Sam Igbe; representatives of the Edo State Commissioner of Police and that of AIG Zone 5 Benin and representatives of the Director, Department of State Services.
Others were representatives of the Commandant of Civil Defence and Security Corps, Edo State Neighbourhood Watch Council and the OC, SIB, AIG Zone 5.
Chairman of the Consolidated Forum, Donald Edeo-ghon, while acknowledging the damage done by activities of the group, however expressed hope that the coalition of the groups would help in checking crime in the state.
He said: “If you remember, for over two decades, inter-group conflicts, which often resulted in violent and fatal crises, were the attributes of EdoState communities.
“Innocent lives and property of inestimable worth are destroyed on a whim.
“Armed robbery, kidnapping, thuggery and sundry social vices rose to unprecedented levels; it became dangerous to reside and function legitimately in EdoState and in particular, Benin.
“The situation looked bad, but then came the platform of Rainbow Consolidated Forum with a template for all seasons.”
Chief Igbe expressed joy at what he witnessed and called on the groups not to disappoint, saying “you know I am going to brief the Oba on what I have witnessed here today.”